Gen. Ejiga, third from right with other elders at the press conference.
By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – The Idoma people in Benue State have insisted that any of their son who betrays the people and accept the position of a deputy governor in the gubernatorial race in 2023 would be declared a persona non grata as the tribe has no interest except the governorship seat of the State.
They maintained that they have played the second fiddle for too long and desire a change in the interest of peace and peaceful coexistence hence they solicit the help of Nigerians to intervene in the political situation in the State to prevent what they termed as the impending crisis.
The people in a press conference in Jos claim the older generations of the Tiv people in Benue worked with everyone but the current leaders like the State governor, Samuel Ortom, Iyorchia Ayu, George Akume, Gabriel Suswam, among others are spreading hatred to justify their hold in Tivland thereby creating unhappiness, inferiority complex and despair in Idoma land.
Expressing angst at the refusal of the Tiv people to have a Governor from the Benue South Senatorial zone, the people under the aegis of Benue Rebirth Movement, BRM threatened that any possible other than the governorship sear would not be accepted, even as they insist Tiv leaders are promoting disunity and provoking the people.
Spokesman of the group, General Geoffrey Ejiga who said he was part of the meeting in 1998 which agreed on the zoning of the governorship seat among the three zones of the State, stated “Governor Ortom should be ashamed of himself” for his utterances in media on the issue of zoning.
His words, “BRM is basing their agitation on agreement of zoning in 1998, agreed on by current political leaders in Benue. At a meeting in Gemade’s house in Markurdi at the beginning of politics in 1999. It was agreed that the governorship position will rotate to zones… I saw Governor Ortom on Television and was shocked by what he was saying…
“He said an Idoma person cannot be governor because they don’t have the population. Idoma people did not vote for him in 2015 and 2019, BRM did not consult sufficiently in the Tiv area, and BRM is not talking to APC therefore if PDP makes a hasty or incorrect decision and takes a Zone C aspirant and takes a Tiv aspirant then PDP will lose…
“He portrayed to his Idoma subjects that he hates them. BRM has consulted widely… They also visited the current political leaders of Tiv who are Governor Ortom, Dr. Ayu, Dr. Akume, Chief Suswam, Chief Gemade, etc. I have a personal experience with consulting and begging the Tiv people to allow the Idoma people to govern the State… I was shocked, they told my team that the Tiv people are not ready to hand over the governorship position to the Idoma people in any foreseeable future…
“This action of Tiv political in political leaders in Benue is creating great unhappiness, Benue needs to try an Idoma governor to see if it will improve the fortunes of the State. The Tiv governors from 1999 to date have not improved the developmental fortunes of the State… The unjust deprivation of the Idoma people from leadership is bound to create insecurity in the State.
“Very soon, the Idoma youths will revolt, creating a massive problem for the Tiv governors. The federal government will then be called to help…We solicit the help of Nigerians to prevent the impending crisis in Benue State.”